Australia's Zero Emissions Transport Plan Part 2 : Electric Vehicles report

Zero Carbon Australia Electric Vehicles report

The EV report is the second part of the Zero Carbon Transport Plan by Beyond Zero Emission 

Download HERE 



This study analyses the transition to 100 per cent electric vehicles1 in Australia, powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, over a ten year period. The key findings are:

A shift to 100 per cent electric vehicles would eliminate at least six per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions.

At present, approximately six per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions are attributed to the operation of urban passenger vehicles. Shifting to 100 per cent electric vehicles (EVs), operating on renewable electricity, would eliminate these emissions. Up to 8 per cent of national emissions would be removed if regional passenger vehicles are also included. There would also be additional economic, health and environmental benefits from the transition to EVs, such as improved urban air quality, reduced noise pollution, increased urban amenity, reduced reliance on imported fuels and a reduction of approximately 500-1000 pollution related deaths in Australia per year from existing internal combustion engine vehicles.

Electric vehicles are more convenient.

Electric vehicles already have the range to cover the majority of urban car trips. EV drivers often charge their car at home, meaning their car is usually fully charged and they avoid the inconvenience of filling their car at the petrol station. EVs will be even more convenient once we have comprehensive public charging infrastructure in urban areas, as assumed in this study, with the convenience of charging at work, at the shopping mall, and other public locations.


A rapid shift to electric vehicles operating on 100 per cent renewable electricity is both realistic and affordable.

Electric vehicles are significantly cheaper to fuel and maintain. This significantly offsets the current higher purchase price of EVs. Applying conservative assumptions (which are likely to overestimate costs), the analysis in this report finds that it will cost approximately 25 per cent more than a business-as-usual scenario to transition to 100 per cent electric cars by 2025. This equates to $20 more per capita, per week.

If car and battery technology progresses at the more rapid end of projections, maintenance costs for electric vehicles are at the lower end of projections, and petrol prices are at the higher end of projections, then this analysis finds that a shift to 100 per cent electric cars in ten years could cost the same as the business as usual scenario. This means that under certain conditions there may be no additional cost to transition to 100 per cent electric cars in Australia by 2025.

Costs could be even lower if we adapt transport behaviours to reduce car ownership.

Policies that make it more convenient for more Australians to use non-car transport modes, such as public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of electric personal mobility (such as bicycles and scooters), combined with increased access to car-share and ride-share schemes, will allow more Australians to avoid the costs of individual car ownership. This will reduce the costs of a shift to 100 per cent electric vehicles even further, and also make the scaleof the task easier as there are less vehicles in the Australian passenger fleet required to transition to EVs. A shift towards increased use of public transport, walking and cycling also offers benefits in reducing traffic congestion, reducing traffic accidents, and increasing incidental exercise to promote improved health outcomes.

A rapid shift to electric buses operating on 100 per cent renewable electricity is also feasible, and affordable.

A shift to 100 per cent electric buses for all urban public bus transport in Australia is found to cost only 10 per cent more than business as usual. This amounts to an increase in cost of only $0.72 per capita per week. If bus and battery technology progresses at the more rapid end of projections, maintenance costs for electric buses are at the lower end of projections, and petrol prices are at the higher end of projections, then this analysis finds that a shift to 100 per cent electric buses in ten years could cost almost 12 per cent less than business as usual. This would mean that a transition to 100 per cent electric buses would be economically attractive.



1 The term Electric Vehicles (EVs) is defined in this report as primarily passenger vehicles (cars less than 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass) powered by 100 per cent (renewable) electricity. However a section of the report is dedicated to buses, as these present an excellent and cost-effective opportunity to transition rapidly to being powered by electricity.



The Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) is pleased to see the hard work of Beyond Zero Emissions come to fruition, with this Zero Carbon Australia Electric Vehicles Report being released. The AEVA, formed during the oil price shocks of 1973, has long held the view that a shift to zero emission electrified transport is inevitable. Electric vehicles are quiet, low-maintenance and extraordinarily energy efficient. Land transport is currently the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, with most of the fuel being imported from overseas. Making the switch to battery electric vehicles for private and public transport makes sense both environmentally and economically. The information contained in this report reinforces and builds on what the AEVA has advocated for decades - that electric vehicles will make for a cleaner, safer, and more economically prosperous nation. I commend BZE for their dedication and attention to detail in this report, and I trust that our leaders and policy makers will heed the advice contained herein.

-Dr Chris Jones

Vice President and Assistant Secretary of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA).



This ambitious, credible, exciting report sets out a clear choice for Australia. Either we can seize the opportunities of clean transport, improve our quality of life and even save money, or we can stick with the dangerous course we’re currently on.

We can and must dramatically cut pollution from every sector of our economy, and by doing so we can create a better future for our children. Beyond Zero Emissions have consistently led the way articulating a positive, hopeful plan for Australia’s future, and it’s time for governments to follow that leadership.

-Senator Larissa Waters

Deputy Leader Australian Green Party


Communities that embrace the inevitability and desirability of early electric vehicle adoption by providing charging stations and parking provision will be communities that help re-navigate the world onto a sustainable and honourable path. They will be the communities that surf the wave of change and gain the most benefits from doing so. Research such as that contained within this report will embolden smart, innovative and inspired communities to view this change as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience and exclaim proudly, ‘Viva EV!’

-Cr. Simon Richardson Mayor, Byron Shire Council


Due to the outlook for rising global environmental awareness, electric-powered vehicles are expected to see increased demand in the future with their outstanding environmental performance.

Mitsubishi Motors introduced the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle and has a long history of EV technology. Based on these strengths, Mitsubishi Motors positions electric-powered vehicles - along with SUV's- as its core products. Mitsubishi Motors will continue to develop technology that responds to challenges being currently faced, social challenges expected in the future, and fully incorporates the values customers demand. Mitsubishi will continue to provide vehicles that deliver driving pleasure and reassuring safety while manufacturing vehicles that excite customers.

-Craig Norris

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited 



I am delighted that the transition to electric vehicles is finally gaining genuine and sustainable momentum, after decades of having been opposed and undermined by the oil and auto industries. Australia is well placed to help drive this revolution with the development of pure natural graphite that will enhance the efficiency of battery storage and lower its cost considerably.

-Dr John Hewson Professor Crawford School ANU and former Opposition Leader


Our mission at Tesla is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. A major part of our mission is the production and delivery of sustainable transport, with our plan to bring a range of increasingly affordable electric vehicles to market. Tesla has delivered more than 100,000 electric vehicles to customers worldwide to date, with Australia a key part to our continued growth.

Tesla also has developed its own infrastructure network with the provision of home charging, Supercharging for long distance travel and Destination Charging at key locations. This, along with our vehicles, makes electric vehicle ownership a no compromise, compelling offer in market.

-Heath Walker Tesla


BZE have for years been the pathfinder, mapping the possibilities for our rapid, and inevitable, transition to a low-carbon society, work which the political and corporate elites have been too timid or conflicted to undertake. BZE are performing an essential service to the Australian community in filling the vacuum left by official myopia and short-termism. The Zero Carbon Australia Electric Vehicles Plan is another vital piece of the jigsaw we must complete to make that transition, but particularly important given the need to move away from our social and economic reliance on ICE technology in a large continent with a widely dispersed population.

-Ian Dunlop Member of the Club of Rome 



As the minister responsible for climate change policy, I am excited by the prospect of zero carbon cars and consider electric vehicles as an important technology for reducing transport sector carbon pollution.

-Hon Dr Steven Miles, MP, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Government.



At BMW, we see that electric mobility is the trend in the automotive industry and that is why we have invested heavily in the new technology and even created a new sub-brand around electric mobility with BMW i. The driving forces for us to invest in electric mobility have been changing values in customer expectations, cultural changes to a more sustainable mobility as part of a modern urban lifestyle, urbanisation with an increasing population living in cities as well as climate change, with the subsequent effects. These changes can also be seen in CO2 and fleet regulations in many countries around the world where zero emission vehicles will play an important role to meet these regulations.

-Alexander Brockhoff

BMW Group Australia


This is an exciting time in Australian automotive history. A step that will one day be celebrated by our enthusiast community. Our proud history is the learning foundation we take with us into this new technology advancement. We must never stop striving to advance our vehicles, always mindful that the greatest challenge will be educating our nation of drivers on how to safely drive them and realise their full benefits.

-Peter Styles

Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party



Climate change represents a significant challenge for Australia and also an opportunity to leverage our innate capacities to solve. Australia has a well educated work force, world class universities and CSIRO. As Australia and the world transition from traditional forms of energy to low carbon emissions forms, we need to ensure that our workforce is similarly transitioned to manufacture the products needed to solve climate change.

Electric vehicles, battery storage, wind and solar products can all be made in Australia, creating thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs and building a sizeable export program to countries that want our high-performing and dependable renewable energy products. The work of Beyond Zero Emissions in producing the Zero Carbon Australia Electric Vehicles Report is a significant body of work that will lift our understanding of the urgent need to engage in this work for the future of our environment and for working communities across Australia.

-Richard Inwood, Nick Xenophon Team


The shift to electric vehicles is an absolute 'no brainer'. The technology is already here, rapidly improving and increasingly affordable. Electric vehicles provide tangible, direct benefits for the individual, the community and the planet. Governments at all levels need to start showing leadership and stop dragging their heels. Noosa's current (excuse the pun) electric bus trial is just the beginning of the transport revolution in our local government area.

-Tony Wellington, Mayor, Noosa Council 



We at Brighsun congratulate the Beyond Zero Emissions team on their substantive work and insightful report. When our Touring eBus secured the Guinness World Record in late 2015 for 'Greatest distance travelled by an Electric Bus (non solar) on a single charge, 1018 km, we were taken aback at the level of interest generated from transport operators, consumers and Governments. We realised that as pure eVehicles  become more affordably priced and are able to travel a commercially practical range on a single charge, then we are just at the start of an exciting revolution in how we travel within and between our cities - with associated massive cost savings and dramatic reduction in pollution. We see the leadership role of Government as key in introducing policies fostering the more rapid take up of eVehicles by both consumers and operators, for the benefit of us all.



- Charles Brent CEO, Brighsun EBus Pty Ltd, and, Committee Member, Society Australian Industry & Employment